Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Commission members signal new era for Pittsburgh public art and civic design

Margaret Sun
90.5 WESA
"The Two Andys," a mural in Downtown Pittsburgh by painter Tom Mosser, who has been nominated for a position on the city's reconstituted Art & Civic Design Commission.

Pittsburgh City Council ushered in a new era Tuesday by approving the first seven nominees to the city’s reconstituted Art & Civic Design Commission.

The revamped Commission is one facet of a new approach to public art and civic design taken by Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration and represents the first changes to oversight in those areas in decades.

The commission consists of two committees. Tuesday’s vote finalized four appointments to the new Art Committee and three to the new Civic Design Committee.

WESA Inbox Edition Newsletter

Love stories about arts and culture? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you Pittsburgh's top news, every weekday morning.

Art Committee appointees include artist and educator Christine Bethea, a fixture on the local scene and member of the Women of Visions collective; painter Tom Mosser, known for his whimsical Downtown mural “The Two Andys”; artist Mikael Owunna, whose visionary photographs of Black people have been exhibited around the world and on the side of Heinz Hall; and Celeste Smith, a senior program officer for arts and culture at the Pittsburgh Foundation, as well as a co-founder of social justice nonprofit 1Hood Media.

On the civic design side, the new commissioners include: architect Lisa Carver of Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel Architects; independent urban planner Ariam Ford; and Green Building Alliance Vice President for Planning and Policy Megan Zeigler, who is a trained landscape architect.

The Art Committee will oversee siting and changes to public art, while the Civic Design Committee will handle municipal buildings and landscapes. The two committees replace the single Art Commission, whose five members Gainey dismissed following their November meeting.

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

All seven of the new appointees were interviewed by councilors last week. Two more nominees await votes: Carnegie Mellon University architecture professor Gerrod Winston, nominated to the Civic Design Committee; and Anneliese Martinez, who heads The Andy Warhol Museum’s Pop District Initiative, nominated to the art committee. (Each committees has five seats, so expect a fifth civic-design nominee soon.)

The new group's first scheduled meeting is March 22.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: